21nje_courreges_02

Amazing images from André Courrèges‘ heyday in Assouline‘s beautiful tome.  Why no one has re-taken this bull by the horns is beyond me.  Maybe some things are better left alone. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

La_Lupe_Class_Trip

Sex. Fire. Soul. Voodoo.” That’s how Cuba’s Soul Sister Number One was described. Couldn’t be more accurate.

Born Guadalupe Victoria Yolí Raymond in Santiago de Cuba in 1936, she was known as La Lupe or La Yiyiyi by her adoring fans. Her groundbreaking musical talent and performance style made her one of Cuba’s most brilliant exports. Unlike the well-behaved Celia Cruz, La Lupe was a wild woman, given passionately to her emotions in any moment. This was a trait that landed her in her fair share of trouble, and some say, doomed her career. But her theatrics were not a distraction to compensate for a lack of talent as is so often the case – singing prowess she had in spades. Her early career in Havana attracted devoted followers including Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Jean Paul Satre, Simone de Beauvoir and Marlon Brando.

The sixties saw La Lupe become the most acclaimed Latin singer in New York City, partly due to her partnership with salsa sensation Tito Puente. The Bronx resident was the first Latin singer to sell out a concert at Madison Square Garden.  Watching her performances still gives me chills.

Sadly, her later success was dulled by an emotional instability that led to rumors of drug addiction, ill health, and a spilt with Puente. A fire made her homeless in the eighties and she was destitute throughout her late forties and early fifties. She died at 55 and is interred in Saint Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx. This clip from a documentary about her amazing life is a must-see.


Read the rest of this entry »

big-and-little-edie-beale-grey-gardens
I’ve been watching Grey Gardens nonstop for the past 72 hours. I’m unsure about whether these two women are completely possessed by their undiagnosed schizophrenia or the sanest women I have ever observed. In any case, there is something so enviable about total surrender to a life unaffected by the world’s opinions. I can’t figure out whether these women are my terrifying failure-deterrents, or who I should strive to become. Line after unscripted line, they seem to get life just right:

Big Edie: Oh, look. That cat’s going to the bathroom right behind my portrait.

Little Edie: Ughh, how awful.

Big Edie: No, I’m glad. I’m glad somebody’s doing something what they want to do!

Crystal_Jellyfish_Class_Trip

I don’t particularly like window shopping.  Unless it involves acquiring some of Géraldine Gonzales’ crystal paper jellyfish.  The l’Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Appliqués Duperré graduate and super sculptress dresses Parisian windows for some of the city’s finest – including Printemps, Sonia Rykiel, Christian Lacroix, Hermes, Baccarat, Van Cleef & Arpels, Guerlain, and Givenchy.  I’ve never wanted a paper flamingo so desperately.  I am sure Matt will love how I’ve managed to make even window-shopping cost money.

(Love the ibis and red fish skeletons!)

picture-115picture-39Ibis_Class_TripJellyfish_Lamp_Class_Trip

picture-24

The 98-year tour de force that was the life of Bonnie Cashin left an enormous, oft-overlooked, inspiration-riddled legacy for American fashion designers.  One visit to her website delivers to you a landing page that plays an interview where Cashin straight-talks about women’s design needs in her Kate Hepburn-esque chic yet all-business tone.

Born in California in 1908, Cashin was raised by a dressmaker mother and never received any formal design training. After a short stint designing costumes for chorus girls in Los Angeles, her carreer hit its stride when she took as position as costume designer at Twentieth Century Fox in 1943, eventually wardrobing over sixty films including including Laura (1944), Anna and The King of Siam (1946), and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1946). She used Fox’s libraries and leading ladies to develop ideas for “real” clothing and returned to ready-to-wear in 1949.

Her collections were a testament to her unsuppressable joi de vivre and fiercely independent nature. As the late and very great Amy Spindler wrote in her Cashin tribute for The New York Times:

To say that the fashion designer Bonnie Cashin was a colorful character is an understatement. Her clothes alone were so colorful that she used them, in open closets and exposed shelves, as her apartment’s primary decor. That decor blended beautifully with pieces by the designers of the day she considered her peers, people who didn’t make clothes at all — the Eamses, George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi.


Read the rest of this entry »

Must See

12/15/2008

The only fashion show I want to see.

affiche_metro_rykiel_231008

Play Pen

12/10/2008

mk31

I am in love with Mel Kadel‘s pen on paper illustrations.  Part moral-based storybook, part sad and scary, they are perfect for little kids and grown ups too.